Press release shared by York County Rail Trail Authority, May 3, 2024.  Photos courtesy of York County Rail Trail Authority.

As part of an expansion of the Hanover Trolley Trail, York County Rail Trail Authority opened two more miles of the Hanover Trolley Trail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Spring Grove, PA, on April 26, 2024, and announced the beginning of construction in Heidelberg Township. These projects will close the gap between existing sections of the Trolley Trail in Hanover and Spring Grove, with the goal to provide county residents with a rail trail experience complementing the very popular Heritage Rail Trail.

The newly opened trail section links in Spring Grove to Borough Park and extends eastward along a dormant rail line purchased by the authority in 2020. Along the way, the trail section passes through woodland and agricultural lands, and offers views of Codorus Creek. Authority executive director Gwen Loose explains, “These new miles of trail offer visitors great connections to businesses in the borough and exceptional views of open spaces.”

Funding was made possible through state grants from the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resource’s Keystone Fund and the Department of Community & Economic Development’s Local Share Account with matching local funds from Memorial Health Fund and Explore York. Authority chairman Frank Kempf noted, “With a current construction cost of approximately $800,000 per mile, these funding partners are critical to the pace of our trail-building work.”

New construction in Heidelberg Township will restore approximately ¼ mile of Oil Creek, a tributary of Codorus Creek and part of the Susquehanna River watershed. Authority chairman Kempf added, “Restoration of the creek is a necessary first step to stabilize the rail corridor after decades of storm-related damage.”  Following completion of this first phase of creek restoration, an additional one mile of trail will be built in Heidelberg Township by year’s end.


In 2020, the authority purchased 8.5 miles of dormant rail line located between Hanover and the village of Bair in West Manchester Township and embarked on an estimated $14 million project to expand and complete the Hanover Trolley Trail. Originally envisioned in the 1970s to share occupancy with a sixteen-mile Met-Ed utility corridor, the Trolley Trail now has a parallel corridor that offers many advantages for trail development. Soon after the rail purchase, the authority salvaged the rails and began an aggressive trail construction plan.

With the rail corridor purchase also came the challenge of restoring adjacent portions of Oil Creek, an impaired tributary of Codorus Creek. Phase 1 of this work began in mid-April and will be followed by additional trail construction in Heidelberg Township.

Gwenyth Loose, Executive Director
York County Rail Trail Authority
[email protected]
(717) 428-0999